The scariest time of day is just after lunch and on the playground. It’s better if the clouds are low but when the sun is out, yes that’s the scariest time of day.
There’s a kid I know that can’t be insulted and I envy him. No one will play with him so he played by himself until he saw me. I watch for him near the swing set when his mother drops him off in the morning. He talks and plays with me now.
We met just as the new school year was starting he seemed a little lost, not his jovial self. He didn’t run about the playground trying to fit into games. He looked around, his bright blue eyes scanning all the children, laughing, fighting, crying or hiding. The sun was high and I was nervous for I felt exposed.
He was cautious in his approach and spoke to me.
“Hello,” he said
I said nothing.
He told me his name but I won’t tell you. He’s my friend now, none of you wanted him.
“Why are you always at this swing set, there are lots of places to play?”
He reached out his hand and I shied away. It was broad daylight and I needed to stay in the shadows so he sat down and played in the grass next to me.
Once a playground assistant came to him and asked what he was doing.
“Looking for a four leaf clover for the girl who won’t tell me her name.”
“The girl who can’t come out into the sun because she’s afraid.”
The playground assistant peered into the shadows where I stood and narrowed her eyes as if she could just see me.
I became suddenly angry at the intrusion. I don’t know why. Maybe because he wasn’t doing anything but being kind to me and nobody cared before now. The playground assistant shied away.
“You shouldn’t do that,” said my friend. “People don’t understand.”
“What does that mean, ‘people don’t understand,’?” I asked.
My friend shrugged. “I don’t know, it’s what my mother says when I’m sad that nobody likes me.”
“I never told my mother nobody liked me,” I said
“Where is your mother now?” he asked.
“Long dead,” I said.
I liked my little friend all the more because he didn’t try to sympathize. He simply gave a little shudder, looked about the loud, clamorous playground with one worried playground assistant always glancing our way.
“Would you like to come home with me? You can stay in my room, out of the sun and play with the toys I have in the closet,” he said.
“Who would take care of you on the playground if I’m in your room?” I asked.
“I’m sorry your dead,” he said suddenly. I felt he meant it.
“I’m sorry too and more so that you find me less frightening than the living around you,” I said.